The Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences on the far southwest is
unique because of its agricultural programs, state of the art campus and
location on the last working farm in the City of Chicago. CHSAS gained another
distinction this week as it also the home of the Miracle Field and three other
baseball fields constructed with donations from the White Sox and White Sox
Charities.

This is the first Miracle Field in Chicago and we look forward to it being a
true Field of Dreams in its partnership with CHSAS.

Mayor Daley cuts the ribbon for the Miracle Field

Park District CEO TIm Mitchell is presented with a gift by CHSAS
Students

Principal Dave Gilligan and CHSAS students thank White Sox CEO Jerry
Reinsdorf for the Miracle Field

Miracle Field a dream come true

05/16/2005 7:17 PM ET

By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com

CHICAGO — As Debbie Greene watched her 10-year-old son Michael sitting
at home plate waiting for a pitch with a huge smile on his face, tears formed in
her eyes.

Michael has been in a wheelchair since the age of three and dreams of playing
center field like his favorite player Aaron Rowand. On Monday, that fantasy
became more of a reality as the White Sox unveiled a new Miracle Field in Mt.
Greenwood, on Chicago’s southwest side.

Miracle Field is a baseball diamond made out of cushioned, rubber turf that
allows for wheelchairs to traverse the field without worry. It is part of a
brand new four-field complex known as White Sox Fields that the organization
helped to build. The main cornerstone of the $1 million project was the
construction of Miracle Field but the area has a total of four fields: a
baseball field, softball field, a Little League diamond along with the field
made for children with handicaps.

For Greene, seeing her son play on the new field was more than she could have
imagined.

“To me and to everybody else who has handicapped children, this is
unbelievable,” Greene said. “I’m trying to make my son’s dream come true and
this is the dream.”

The project has been in the planning stages since the latter part of 2001
when a piece ran on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” about the Miracle
League. The Miracle League was developed in 1998 to help children with
disabilities play baseball and developing fields that are safe for the kids to
play on. When White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf saw the piece, he knew that his
team had to do something.

“I’ve been looking forward to this day for a really long time,” Reinsdorf
said as he watched some of the kids play on the new field. “Ever since I saw the
video on the Miracle League, I knew we needed to help. When this was planned, I
couldn’t wait for it to get built fast enough.”

Monday was the day that Reinsdorf was finally able to rejoice in all the
work. The White Sox chairman was on hand to celebrate the opening of the new
fields along with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. Daley spoke to the crowd about
what it means to have such a facility in the city.

“These kids are like anyone else,” Daley said. “They are Sox fans, they just
want to get out here and participate.”

A significant crowd was on hand to see the ribbon cut for the new facility.
Along with Reinsdorf and Daley were former White Sox players Harold Baines and
Billy Pierce, along with the family of Jack Gould, a longtime Chicago sports
executive with the Bulls and White Sox. Three of the fields were named after
Baines, Pierce and Gould, all of whom have had left an impact not only on the
team but on the community as well.

After the opening ceremony, many children gathered to swing the bats and
travel around the bases. Seeing the smiles on all the kids’ faces was what the
day was all about.

“It’s truly a dream come true,” said Christine O’Reilly, White Sox senior
director of community relations. “When I say this is the cornerstone of the
project, it really is. To know that we can bring baseball to these kids who
otherwise couldn’t play — they just can’t navigate on a grass and clay
infield.”

This is not the first time that the White Sox have been involved in the
Miracle Field project. The team also donated $300,000 to help build two other
such fields in Roselle, Ill., and Geneva, Ill.

With the addition of the new field, the Miracle League continues to grow. The
field in Mt. Greenwood is the 18th such field in the nation, with 61 currently
under construction.

“There is an obligation on behalf of sports teams to give back to the
community,” Reinsdorf said. “We take so much out of the community, we need to
give back. I don’t think we should get anything out of this because I think it’s
a selfish thing. I feel so good when I see these kids. It’s just an unbelievable
feeling.”

For Michael, the day was even more special. Michael was not born handicapped
but a blood clot found on his spine around the age of three put him in the
wheelchair. Being in the chair has not deterred his love of sports. He has been
involved in a wheelchair basketball league but it’s another sport that has
captured his love.

“Baseball is Michael,” his mom said. “This is his love.”

Seeing the broad smile on Michael’s face after he was finished swinging at
home plate explained just how much the day meant to him, but to his family, it
might have meant even more.

“I’m very nervous and I think I am getting more choked up than he is” Greene
said. “Our daughter plays Little League here a couple of times a week and while
she’s playing, me and him take a walk down here. I told him we’d be able to get
on this field someday and play and today is that day.”